Science and Technology: How to Use More Affordable, Easy
Technology and the world around us have connected us in an unprecedented way. But while students interact with technologies in ways that were previously unattainable or unappealing, we don’t necessarily have the interpersonal skills to understand why they are useful, or how to access resources and information using them effectively.
This is an issue you cannot afford to ignore. We need students to understand how science and math connects with everything around them, and how they can apply these concepts to a wide variety of subjects. As part of our Take Your Science Research to School initiative, we decided to look at four relatively new tools for making this connection. They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and as open-source as possible.
Here are the four strategies to develop skills in building relationships:
Interaction Photography allows students to create beautiful art that comments on the world around them. The photos they create are created by light, motion, and motion capture, which makes the scenes they create highly interactive and engaging.
Take for example this warm, abstract sunset photographed by a student from South Africa. The classroom lighting was both dim and changing throughout the day, which influenced the photo’s colors. A colored filter is used to help add contrast. The experiment required the student to click on specific markers on a screen to move the camera in a specific direction. In this method, she achieved a very meaningful and powerful look at the sun, and her art proved to be even more impactful.
Experiment as much as possible with different modes of interaction and use this art to exercise our children’s knowledge of light, motion, and motion detection. By teaching students to constantly experiment and discover, you’ll train them for real-world situations and ultimately help them understand why technology can be so useful in their lives.
Using audio tracks with interactive questions, the audio-to-reading tool R&C/RDHAK can be very powerful for engaging students in science. Students are asked questions that require real-world answers. In order to accomplish this, a teacher needs to select only the most challenging and interesting questions. Once the answer is displayed, the teacher asks a second question that requires the student to remember the correct answer. The math, reading, and science associations of this tool have students building their strengths and making critical thinking decisions at an early age.
Accelerator Improv is a fun tool that helps students learn through interactive storytelling. More specifically, it uses improvisational comedy to help students learn how the brain processes information and why the brain is able to make leaps of logic and innovation.
Students must get involved with the show and help the teacher decide what to talk about. Once the topics are agreed upon, the students perform short, comedic skits that help the teachers recognize problems and how students should communicate with them to solve them. Sometimes the goal is to help the students correct the teacher, sometimes to entertain them, and sometimes for the teacher to see firsthand how students can not only make good decisions but also come up with new ones to solve problems, generate new ideas, and ultimately build knowledge and confidence. By helping them learn how to make informed decisions and how to effectively communicate with people and their ideas, students will feel more comfortable speaking up about difficult ideas and providing options that other students and teachers may not realize they have. They’ll learn how to ask people questions to come up with ideas and communicate with them to decide on a solution. Finally, they’ll learn how to engage people in the exchange of ideas and express themselves in a creative and outspoken way.
This educational tool allows students to view science and math through a very different lens than they’re used to. As the teacher guides them through the story, they use language that makes the stories seem more accessible, and they see the world from the students’ point of view instead of the teacher’s.
Students feel it’s their job to be involved in everything. This method of teaching brings it to life and allows the students to learn to take ownership of their own education and find their own way to solve problems and express ideas with others.
Science and math have not traditionally been considered sexier subjects for children, but if you use these four tools, you’ll see that these subjects not only help educate students, but also make them more powerful communicators and their own future. This will not only help them in the classroom, but also in the real world.
More About MindShift:
MindShift is a program to train teachers to lead effective science and technology classrooms. By training and coaching teachers to develop their skills, they are able to give their students the best chance for a lifelong career. By focusing on science and math, they are not only able to save money by reducing class sizes,